Tom McGrath (media executive)
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Crossroads Media, Inc.
Harvard Business School
|Notable awards||Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Olivier Award|
Tom McGrath (born 1956) is an American media executive and the current Chief Operating Officer of STX Entertainment. He is Senior Managing Director of Crossroads Media, Inc. an entertainment industry specialist investor and consulting firm. He was previously the Executive Chairman and co-owner of Key Brand Entertainment, a leading producer and distributor of live theatre in the United States and parent of e-commerce web site Broadway.com. He is currently on the Board of Prime Focus World. He serves on the Advisory Council to the Office of the Arts at Harvard, the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a member of The Recording Academy and is Member of the Board of Trustees of The New England Conservatory of Music and the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA.
Early life and education
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McGrath grew up in Washington, DC, graduated from St. John's College High School ('72), received his A.B. at 19 from Harvard and earned his M.B.A. there as well. At Harvard he was music director of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals and conductor of both the Harvard University Band and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players.
McGrath began his career as a musician, performing in the orchestra at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts outside Washington, DC, while in college. After college he was a Broadway press agent at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, work that included the original Broadway production of Annie and the first national tour of A Chorus Line. He also handled the U.S. Bicentennial visits in 1976 of the La Scala Opera, Berlin Opera, The Royal Ballet, Cuban National Ballet, Bolshoi Opera and Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet. These visits included La Bohème with José Carreras and the world premiere of Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov's production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
McGrath has a particular association with theatrical exhibition. In 1948 the U.S. Supreme Court decided the major film studios (Paramount, Universal etc.) must divest themselves of their movie theaters (the "Paramount Consent Decree.") In 1985 Columbia Pictures, then a unit of The Coca-Cola Company, acquired a 58% interest in Walter Reade cinemas in New York. Columbia (which had not been a signatory to the original decree as it had owned no Theaters then) submitted an econometric study by McGrath showing that the inter-relationship and growth of the Home Video, cable TV and subscription Pay TV businesses mitigated the argument that theatrical exhibition was a distinct and unique product market. The deal went forward and Tri-Star Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal and Paramount all subsequently acquired movie theaters.
At Act III McGrath built what was then the 6th largest theater circuit (Scott Wallace, president), notable for its early adoption of digital sound and extensive roll-out of the THX sound system. While at Paramount McGrath led the development of stadium-seated cinemas building 800+ stadium screens in Canada at Famous Players, eventually achieving a 50% market share. He spurred the rebirth of the contemporary international cinema business by building some 1,300 screens in stadium-seated "megaplexes" in 13 countries at United Cinemas International (UCI). From 2006 to 2013 McGrath served as a board member of Cineworld, the leading UK theatrical exhibitor. His association began with the acquisition and consolidation of several UK cinema chains under Blackstone, through the company's IPO on the London Stock Exchange in April 2007 and thereafter.
McGrath also pioneered the use of screen advertising in cinemas first at UCI in England (Joe Peixoto, president) and then introducing the idea to North America at Famous Players. He is responsible for the 2001, $15mm renovation of the historic Grumann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood which included the replication of the original tapestries, carpets and drapes from the designer's hand-cut templates. With AMC and Sumner Redstone's Showcase, he formed the online movie ticketing company MovieTickets.com.
Finally, McGrath led the formation of Digital Cinema Initiatives, a joint venture of the major studios, which developed the standards and technology for the introduction of digital cinema. In 2006 he worked with Blackstone to acquire Cineworld, the largest (by box office) theater circuit in the UK (Steve Wiener, ceo) which went public in the Spring of 2007. Cineworld's achievements include leading the introduction of "3D" exhibition technology and currently has more than 50% of the "3D" screens in the UK and Ireland.
Senior Managing Director, Crossroads Media
McGrath is currently Senior Managing Director of Crossroads Media, a private equity backed acquisition vehicle. McGrath also serves on the boards of Cineworld (UK), The Aramid Entertainment Fund (a specialty hedge fund for the entertainment industry), Prime Focus World and previously on the boards of Movie Gallery, Universal Studios (Orlando), Classic Media TV and Cineworld (UK) which he took public with Blackstone UK in 2007.
- Darling, Lynn (January 1, 1977). "Bicentennial Hailed for Its Legacies". The Washington Post.
- Meersman, Roger (1980). "The Kennedy Center: From Dream to Reality". Records of the Columbia Historical Society
- Kriegsman, Alan M. (January 2, 1977). "The New 'Nutcracker': An Artistic Coup". The Washington Post.
- Box-Office Potential Entices Large Chains, Movie Makers from Los Angeles Times July 27, 1986
- "Paramount Revisited: the Resurgence of Vertical Integration in the Motion Picture Industry" Hofstra Law Review Winter 1992
- The Business of Media: Corporate Media and the Public Interest (pp. 71-107), by David Croteau and William Hoynes, 2001
- Blackstone to IPO Cineworld
- Cineplex Odeon Corporate History
- PR Newswire December 15, 2000
- Studios Do Digital Dance from Variety July 27, 2005
- Blackstone Press Release December 2, 2004
- Cineworld Sets IPO Price
- "Executives at the Gate", Vanity Fair
- Vanity Fair
- "Serious Money", Vanity Fair
- Thomas B. McGrath Profile from Fathom.com
- Norman Lear, Act III Communications
- Gore and McGrath acquire Live Nation Legit Theater Biz from the NY Times
- Bug Music Records Four Consecutive Quarters as #1 Indie Publisher from Billboard
- "Mining Gold in Tin Pan Alley" from The Deal 9/15/2008
- "The New Song of Broadway" from The Deal July 17, 2009
- "Bug Music Number 99 on INC Magazine 500 Fastest Growing Small Companies" from Inc. Magazine
- "The Future of Theater" from Harvard Magazine January 2011
- Internet Broadway Database
- Internet Movie Database
- LinkedIn Profile
- TED Profiles
- Bug Music
- Channel 5 UK
- Famous Players Theaters
- Crossroads Media (McGrath)
- N-TV Nachrichten Fernsehen (in German)
- Paramount Pictures
- United Cinemas International
- VIVA TV (German and English)
- Broadway Across America
- NETworks Presentations, LLC
- The Booking Group
- Prime Focus World
- New England Conservatory of Music
- A.R.T. American Repertory Theater
- Cineworld PLC
- Cineworld Board of Directors
- TBS Events; Tokyo, Japan